How would you model a pressed plastic netting?


I hope this is the right spot to ask this question. I find every time I think I have an elegant solution to modeling something, one day I’m browsing on the forum and someone has a better one.

I’m about to model this polyethylene net material in order to get an accurate surface area measurement so that I can calculate the surface area per square feet. It looks like this:

As far as can tell, this is made from strands of plastic that are a consistent diameter which are then pressed together to form the netting material. So the volume of the material is consistent with the total length of the strands, but the surface area will be modified by the overlap and the slight amount of bulge where the strands overlap.

I would probably approximate the mesh and then use SubD to smooth it and then get the surface area, but I bet there are better ways!


How precise do the numbers need to be?


I’m not sure yet. I’m looking for a biofilm carrier for some experiments, and I’m going to use the numbers to compare pricing. Even if the measurements were accurate to within 99%, there are other factors to consider. I think 80% accurate and an understanding of whether I was likely under or overestimating would be sufficient.


Since it’s a price comparison thing, I would model up one square inch of the stuff but make it extremely simple. I’d just make the holes square or octagonal at most and get the area of the remaining surface. I think down and dirty like that will give you the info you need.

Besides, how are they measuring the surface area of this stuff for pricing? Are they measuring the real surface area or just measuring the length and width of the sheet? To what precision are they measuring it for pricing?


So I pay based on linear feet for a given roll width. Other carrier material comes in different forms, all with different pricing methods. The one common factor is that biofilms grow on surfaces, so boiling pricing down to cost per square foot of growing area is the most effective way to compare that I can come up with.


I see. So a relative calculation would suffice? Try following my suggestion and see what you get.

What version of SketchUp?


I’m going to try it in a few hours, I’ll be in a meeting for CEUs and won’t have anything better to do. I’m on 2018 Pro. I updated my profile :wink: